Oct. 15, 2012
Why did you choose to come to West Point?
When I was living in South Bend, Ind., I started playing football in fourth grade. I was obviously a Notre Dame fan and went to many games while living there. The most memorable game I ever attended was when Notre Dame played Army. I loved everything about the team and the atmosphere they brought with them. The Army team played with such passion and emotion that I immediately switched sides on who I was cheering for. This time was also when I really understood what my father meant when he attended West Point. Up until that point, to me, West Point just seemed like any other college. But after that day my view of West Point changed forever. Over the years I gained a love for the Army and thought that I could make it as an Army officer. The day that Army started recruiting me was surreal, and after my official visit to the Academy, I knew that I wanted to attend West Point. Playing football for the Army team was a dream come true.
What does it mean to be an Army football player?
An Army football player is not the most talented, biggest, or fastest player on the field, but what we have are the intangibles of the game. Winning is a lifestyle to us. That means that everything we do, everyday, is to the best of our abilities. Effort is never lacking in an Army football player. Hard work and dedication is the basis on which we have become who we are.
Describe your fondest memory of Army football.
My fondest memory of Army football would have to be the Northwestern game last year. That was by far the best game I have played in my life. I remember one instance in the fourth quarter when Northwestern had just tied the game. Joe Bailey, the right guard at the time, looked at me and we just smiled. We knew that we were going to win that game because the ball was in our hands. When we got to the goal line, I turned around to Trent (Steelman) and told him to follow his line into the end zone. On the next play we called a quarterback dive, and Trent scored the touchdown to put us ahead.
Have you always been an offensive lineman and why?
Surprisingly I have not always been an offensive lineman. When I started playing in fourth grade I was a fullback, linebacker, center, and defensive line. I was also the kicker for my sixth grade team for one year. In middle school, I played tight end and linebacker, and one game at quarterback (they didn't let me throw, but I had a couple runs). In high school I played guard on offense and defensive end.
What kind of mentality does it take to be a lineman?
The most important aspect of a lineman is his work ethic. We know that we work extremely hard and it pays off. The other thing that a lineman needs to be is tough. Every play we are going to hit someone, and in our case, that someone is probably going to be bigger than us. We have to be able to take those hits and keep on going. The last thing, and probably most surprising to some, is that a lineman needs to be smart. Before the play, the defense is moving around and trying to fake us out. We have to make quick decisions on where the defense is trying to go and how we will open the holes up for the running backs. A lineman has to be fast on his feet as well as his decision making.
If you were not playing football, what other sport would you play?
I would have to say baseball. It was the first sport that I played, and I can't remember a time when it wasn't fun to play. I think I would play first base or be the designated hitter. Neither of those positions involve too much running, but they bring the power to the plate. My second choice would be to be a professional bowler. There isn't much fame or glory in being a pro bowler, but it would be a pretty sweet gig and there is almost no chance of injury.
What branch do you want to enter after graduation and why?
I hope to be in the Field Artillery. The experiences that I have had with Artillerymen have been great. I like the history and importance of Artillery on the battlefield, and I think that I would be a great leader there.
What is the most important lesson you have learned while at West Point?
I have learned to take everything with a grain of salt and look at the bigger picture. There are a lot of things going on around you and though you may not agree with them you have to make sacrifices. I have also learned that the hard times of training and the sometimes monotonous lifestyle of cadets leads to great and lasting friendships.
What do you like to do in what little down time you have?
I really enjoy fishing. I am not the best fisher, and rarely catch anything worth writing home about, but I love being out at the lake with friends, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. I also like to go on drives in my truck. There's a lot I have not been able to see in the area surrounding West Point, and driving around lets me find new and interesting sites.
How has playing football at Army shaped you?
Army football has changed me a lot over the last four years. I have learned how to deal with stress better than before. I learned that there are many things that will knock you down, but it is how you respond to those things that makes you successful. I have also learned the value of friendship and loyalty, and what those can do for you both on and off the field.